The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Opinion | Everyone should have a craft

Livia+LaMarca+and+her+mother%2C+Leslie%2C+hold+up+their+permutation+blanket.
Courtesy of Livia LaMarca
Livia LaMarca and her mother, Leslie, hold up their permutation blanket.

Over the summer, my mom and I spent every waking moment working on a permutation blanket to give to my little brother as a graduation present. Despite it taking the original creator over a year, my mom and I set off to complete the massive blanket in only three months. Knowing how to make a typical granny square, we each took half of the 120 total squares and barely set our hooks down all summer. It was a lot of hard work, but fortunately, we finished mere days before my brother set off to Georgia Tech.

Ultimately, this enormously large project taught me two things. One, never rush a massive crochet blanket project. And two, everyone should have a craft.

I definitely get my crafty aptitude from my mom. Ever since I was a little girl, she’s had a craft room where she’s stored all the supplies you could ever dream of. She’s known since she was a little girl how to crochet and was an avid scrapbooker during the earliest years of my life. Humorously, we tease her in the family for creating three separate scrapbooks dedicated to the first two-thirds of my first year of life and none to my little brother — sorry Landon. Now, my mom enjoys organizing vintage beads and old costume jewelry, making bracelets out of the remnants. She continues to crochet, cross-stitch, diamond paint and color whenever she can as well.

While I certainly do not have the massive craft stash my mom has, my love of crafts and other creative endeavors runs through my veins. I am an avid crocheter and knitter and even got into sewing over the summer where I made tons of tote bags and even made a denim jacket for my best friend’s 21st birthday. When I’m in between projects, you’ll often find me doing a mini diamond painting I stole from home or designing clothes to make when I get back to my sewing machine.

I barely have the time for these activities, and yet I invest what little time and money I do have into them. Why? Because it’s good for me.

Doing crafts or other creative activities is fantastic for your mental health. Regardless of the creative activity you choose to partake in, research shows that crafting can “bolster mood, improve self-confidence and reduce stress overall.” And for everyone, especially college students, finding ways to manage your mental health and achieve these outcomes is of the utmost importance.

I’ll never forget in February of this year when I sat on our living room couch with my roommate and taught her how to crochet a plush heart. She wanted to give it to her boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. We must’ve sat in the living room for hours, because we started when it was light out and definitely didn’t finish until well after it was dark. And sure, I did a decent amount of the work for her, like starting the magic circles and embroidering the face, but I’ll never forget how proud she was after the fact. She had made something with her own two hands to give to someone she loves. She took tons of pictures and called all her friends to show them what she had just created. She was so proud of herself — it was an incredibly thoughtful and adorable present she created nearly by herself.

It is this confidence that crafting brings that I think is so important to mental health and our stress levels. As students, we are constantly inundated with homework, tests and writing assignments. Our days drag on and on, a never-ending mundane cycle of homework and class that ruins our sleep schedules and our mental health. Taking a little bit of time every week or maybe even every day to utilize our creative genes is so unbelievably important.

I know if I didn’t take some time every day to crochet or cross-stitch, I would be much more stressed out than I already am. And the feeling of success and gratification that comes after finishing a project can’t be replicated anywhere else. It boosts my confidence. No matter how stressed or upset I am, finishing a project feels good and improves my mood without fail.

I highly recommend taking up a craft. No, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. You can get lots of craft supplies for cheap from a multitude of places. If you’re like me and are interested in fiber crafts or want to crochet your partner a plush like my roommate did, Michaels and Joann have cheap supplies. If you’re looking for ultra-cheap, I’ve seen yarn, needles and hooks at dollar stores before. You can also get a massive pack of embroidery floss for cheap from nearly every store. With this, you can make friendship bracelets, or with a little bit more of an investment you can look into doing embroidery or cross-stitching.

If you want a far more casual activity, Target has a slew of coloring books to choose from. I’m not talking Disney Princesses or Paw Patrol books, I’m talking coloring books for adults. These books have taken the world by storm and are a huge stress reliever. Many of these coloring books are advertised as “stress-relievers” and feature intricate designs meant for older audiences. If coloring isn’t your thing, adult sticker books are also a ton of fun and are a great stress reliever.

There’s also beadwork and sewing to consider along with the obvious painting and drawing. There is a whole world of creative endeavors inside your local craft store, big or small, that is just waiting for you to take interest. Crafting is so unbelievably good for your mental health and is a great stress reliever when schedules get tight.

For many, it may seem like taking time away from more timely or strenuous tasks is a bad idea. But taking just a bit of time to destress and do something that you enjoy makes a world of difference. Being creative and having a craft is linked to stress relief and improved mental health. Take the time to look into what may interest you and invest a small portion of your energy into being creative every week.

You never know — you may find a lifelong passion along the way

Livia LaMarca is the Assistant Editor of the opinions desk who misses using the oxford comma. She mostly writes about American political discourse, US pop culture and social movements. Write to her at [email protected] to share your own opinions!

About the Contributor
Livia LaMarca
Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor
Livia LaMarca is a senior political science and sociology student from outside of Chicago. You can often find her studying for the LSAT and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Her hobbies include singing, crocheting & knitting, Marvel movies, and hanging with her dog Leo (who she misses very much). She enjoys writing about American political discourse and U.S. pop culture with a particular passion for social justice and equitable social programs. Livia's email —  — is always open if you'd like to share your own opinions or respond to an opinion column of hers.